National University of Asunción (Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud), Asunción (Paraguay)
The Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud, directed by Prof. Dr. Graciela Velázquez, is an autonomous Specialized Academic Unit that has been in continuous operation for the last 29 years. It is under the control of the Dirección General de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica at the National University of Asunción.
Its mission is to generate, carry out, and promote scientific research in health sciences, by contributing knowledge and offering solutions to overcome the country’s health problems. Human resources involvement and the development of other specialized services are also factors that work to improve the health of the community.
The Institute employs 169 staff working in the prevention and control of diseases, 93 of which are specialized professionals in the domains of Research, Services (that provides different types of specialized laboratory diagnoses for low-income patients), and Academics.
It has equipped laboratories dealing with clinical analysis, microbiology, parasitology, genetics, molecular biology, pathology, virology, immunology, and has produced kits for in vitro detection. These laboratories are organized into ten separate departments.
In 2007, the Institute launched its Master’s course in Biomedical Sciences, the first one of its kind to appear in Paraguay in the areas of bacteriology, parasitology, and immunology. This program was established to make up for a lack of this specialization in Paraguay, and to provide students with an opportunity to study in their own country, rather than having to permanently emigrate abroad. The new 5,700 square-meter IICS building is presently under construction on the university’s campus, and is expected to be completed at the end of 2012.